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The Resurrection of Art: Moving on from Dada
Breakpoint with Charles Colson ^ | April 4, 2006 | Charles Colson

Posted on 04/04/2006 7:36:28 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback

Why would well-heeled folks dress up to attend a fancy gathering where they could admire a urinal? Because it’s art, of course! Or, at least, so they think.

This spring’s Dada exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., celebrates what the Washington Post describes as “the most radical, irreverent, rule-breaking movement in the history of Western art.”

In case you’re unfamiliar, the term dada means exactly what it sounds like: nonsense. As H. R. Rookmaaker described it, Dada “was a nihilistic creed of disintegration, showing the meaninglessness of all Western thought, art, morals, traditions.” It raises the common to the level of the revered. Hence, Marcel Duchamp sticks a urinal on a wall and titles it “Fountain.”

It’s odd that the movement’s fans laud it as great art, because Dada by definition seeks the demise of art. Echoing Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, Nathanael Blake writes at Townhall.com, “to abolish art, you declare a manufactured urinal to be a masterpiece.”

Some say the Dada movement continued the destruction of art that began with cubism, which preceded it. German Dada artist Kurt Schwitters said he built “new things . . . out of fragments.” Post writer Michael O’Sullivan describes Dada as “a putting back together of a broken, senseless world [after World War I], only not with the glue of logic, and not in any sense back to the way things were.”

And there, you see, is the problem. Dada sees the fragmentation of the world—and celebrates that brokenness. But true artists “do not merely reflect the world’s brokenness,” writes Erik Lokkesmoe in BreakPoint WorldView magazine. “The truth-telling artists, rather, also remind us there is more to the story . . . and call us to rise from our defensive crouch to again pursue the faith, hope, and love that abide even in the valley of death.”

“In every time and place and in every culture,” writes Jerry Eisley, founder of the Washington Arts Group, “art has ultimately flowed from worship.” However, artists since the early twentieth century have abandoned the “idea of an ideal measure of goodness and truth linked with beauty.” The splintering and extreme individualism that characterize modern art are indicative of the spirit of the postmodern age. Yes, this world is broken, but the role of the artist is to point us toward wholeness.

Art is not dead, however, nor has the Church abandoned it, as illustrated by the resurgence of Christians in the arts—people like Lokkesmoe and Eisley. And another believer whose art flows from her worship of God is Kim Daus-Edwards. Kim’s latest work is her book of photographs, Force of the Spirit, that “represents a surrender to the idea of the holy through the medium of photography.” These black-and-white images are coupled with Scripture and draw in the viewer to meditate on universal truths. “Even though we may turn away from it, the Spirit’s power is ever-present and emerges regularly in our lives,” she says.

The world may be broken and seem random, but that is not the end of truth. And true art points toward the ultimate restoration of our fallen existence. Too bad the National Gallery of Art doesn’t realize that.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: breakpoint; itaintart; moralabsolutes; nakedemperor
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There are links to further information at the source document.

If anyone wants on or off my Chuck Colson/BreakPoint Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.

1 posted on 04/04/2006 7:36:30 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback
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To: 351 Cleveland; AFPhys; agenda_express; almcbean; ambrose; Amos the Prophet; AnalogReigns; ...

BreakPoint/Chuck Colson Ping!

If anyone wants on or off my Chuck Colson/BreakPoint Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.

2 posted on 04/04/2006 7:37:00 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: Mr. Silverback

Singing: "And my heart belongs to Dada."


3 posted on 04/04/2006 7:39:09 AM PDT by NaughtiusMaximus (Join me! Every night I pray for Global Warming . (And I think it's beginning to work.))
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To: GregB

Ping!


4 posted on 04/04/2006 7:39:32 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: Mr. Silverback

Oh I beg to differ. Art still flows from worship even with these cretins.

It is the worship of man as god, as embodied by a Communist state they so desire to bring forth.


5 posted on 04/04/2006 7:44:33 AM PDT by Killborn (Pres. Bush isn't Pres. Reagan. Then again, Pres. Regan isn't Pres. Washington. God bless them all.)
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To: Mr. Silverback
ARC International has the best examples of "real" art.
6 posted on 04/04/2006 7:44:47 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("When the government is invasive, the people are wanting." -- Tao Te Ching)
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Communist Goals (1963)

22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."

23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."


7 posted on 04/04/2006 7:45:09 AM PDT by Milhous (Sarcasm - the last refuge of an empty mind.)
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To: Mr. Silverback
You don't need an advanced degree in the humanities to know that most of the so called artists of today are nothing more than CON artists.
8 posted on 04/04/2006 7:59:46 AM PDT by Desron13 (If you constantly vote between the lesser of two evils then evil is your ultimate destination.)
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To: wagglebee

Modern "art" is one of my peeves. Actually more than a peeve, since tax payers are often involved, and it signals and promotes a general coarsening and demeaning of the public consciousness.


9 posted on 04/04/2006 8:05:35 AM PDT by little jeremiah (Tolerating evil IS evil.)
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To: little jeremiah

Just remember, in artspeak, "ugly" is now "challenging", "evil" is now "provocative", and "obscene" is now "edgy". The art elite want to undermine any notion of beauty or idealism among the mainstream and convince us that we simply have to accept their notions of what art is. The next step is to make art a tool of indoctrination and propaganda.


10 posted on 04/04/2006 8:10:53 AM PDT by SlowBoat407 (The best stuff happens just before the thread snaps.)
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To: Mr. Silverback

My theory on art is that modern "artists" realizing they can never equal or surpass the works of the ancient masters, had to redefine art to mean "whatever crap I am capable of producing". The same theory applies to classical music.


11 posted on 04/04/2006 8:20:11 AM PDT by BadAndy (Islam is a religion of submission. YOUR submission.)
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To: SlowBoat407

I was always a big fan of the Dada movement. But strictly for it's sillyness! I also was crazy about DEVO, for pretty much the same reason. So many contemporary artists are just totally anti-social fools. Here in Cleveland we had (was it Oldenberg's?) Free Stamp foisted upon us. What cr@p! And don't get me started on so-called "performance artists!


12 posted on 04/04/2006 8:25:12 AM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ("Don't touch that thing")
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To: Desron13

Exactly. This is designed as "anti-art" but now for the better part of a century "antiart" has been considered the leading "artform".

If it is only art on the basis of hanging in a gallery or museum, it isn't art (even if it may be a "design classic").

No one goes to the hardware store to admire the "collection" of urinal fixtures. But seeing a urinal fixture in a museum gallery with accented lighting "makes a statement". A taxpaying critic should make a statement too and USE that high falutin' urinal. And do it with people watching. Call it peformance art. And be prepared to give interviews when you are arrested. Milk that "controversy" for all it is work. You too can become a highly paid BS Artist.


13 posted on 04/04/2006 8:26:34 AM PDT by weegee ("Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?")
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To: BadAndy
My theory on art is that modern "artists" realizing they can never equal or surpass the works of the ancient masters, had to redefine art to mean "whatever crap I am capable of producing". The same theory applies to classical music.

I disagree. There are undoubtedly plenty of artists who have the raw talent to do art of the same quality.

The difference is in their outlook: modern artists reflect our narcissistic culture.

14 posted on 04/04/2006 8:56:29 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: weegee

Most great art was the result of collaboration between an enlightened patron and skilled artisans. Painters need not have great thoughts. Today, even comissioned art reflects the patron, usually a committee.


15 posted on 04/04/2006 9:00:10 AM PDT by ClaireSolt (.)
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To: SlowBoat407

They're doing that already. I gave up on "modern art" around 1967, when I went to a gallery and saw piles of what looked exactly like dogs**t made of white vinyl or plastic scattered about the floor.

That was the end.


16 posted on 04/04/2006 9:17:10 AM PDT by little jeremiah (Tolerating evil IS evil.)
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To: weegee

ROTFLOL!

Great one, wag! Performace art, indeed.


17 posted on 04/04/2006 9:18:19 AM PDT by little jeremiah (Tolerating evil IS evil.)
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To: Mr. Silverback

Thanks for posting the article. This is a serious interest of mine.


18 posted on 04/04/2006 9:29:40 AM PDT by conservativepoet
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To: conservativepoet

I'm really laughing right now. I am an interior design student and for a history of furniture class we were asked to design our own, and also find existing photos of furniture as art. Because no one else did a Dada piece and I thought I'd be unique, I put up a photo of a table that was actually a bicycle (totally unusable). My professor was less than overwhelmed, "And you chose this junk...why?" she said. LOL!


19 posted on 04/04/2006 9:35:24 AM PDT by freepertoo
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To: BadAndy

I pretty much agree with you, but with a caveat. Much so-called "modern" art makes sense to those studying design. Certain colors mix well, certain shapes balance well, etc. Good design is not easy, even in modern art. There is method to the madness in well-designed modern art.

But yeah, the bulk of it is junk.


20 posted on 04/04/2006 9:37:21 AM PDT by freepertoo
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To: Mr. Silverback
For those curious: Tada...! Dadaism


21 posted on 04/04/2006 10:04:10 AM PDT by sully777 (wWBBD: What would Brian Boitano do?)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

I totally agree with you. In the beginning, it was fun! And never meant to be taken seriously. When fools started to think they could elevate themselves by seeing some imaginary meaning in it did it really become a pain in the @$$. Like the Oldenburgs, totally! Who really needs a giant lumpy melted ice cream cone in the middle of the park? But the original dadaists, even if they were "anti-artists" had a really cool visual style mixed with humor that was quite appealing. I think it had a positive influence on graphic design, even if a negative one on "fine art".


22 posted on 04/04/2006 11:28:34 AM PDT by To Hell With Poverty ("This is our Common and we're going to stay here until we leave!" - Random Boston Commie)
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To: Mr. Silverback

I think the art elites are easily entertained.


23 posted on 04/04/2006 11:33:25 AM PDT by TexanToTheCore (Rock the pews, Baby)
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To: NaughtiusMaximus

Well, I refuse to make room for dada. :-)


24 posted on 04/04/2006 12:07:52 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: sully777
I'm more partial to surrealism. Dream-like imagery and the sensations of the subconscious are fascinating in a way Dada only hinted at.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

25 posted on 04/04/2006 1:48:29 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Mr. Silverback
I have four criteria for what I consider to be great art. They have seldom led me wrong.

  1. It must be a work of great craft. If the artist cannot manipulate the medium to intended effect, it is not great art.
  2. It must be entirely original. Good retreads are not great art.
  3. It must forever change the way the viewer experiences the world. Great art opens up one's perceptions to new ideas and ways of "seeing."
  4. It must teach something new or appear different every time you interact with it.
This set of criteria obviously disqualify the vast bulk of what we see as "modern art," but is in no way restrictive. As you will see in this link, this qualifies as great art.
26 posted on 04/04/2006 2:27:05 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: Carry_Okie

I studied religious art while in seminary. The thesis was that art reaches its highest form when it inspires the observer to experience the numena, the ethereal. Seems like so much drivel to me today.
I don-t know anything about art but I know what I like.


27 posted on 04/04/2006 8:25:03 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell (Here come I, gravitas in tow.)
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To: Mr. Silverback
Storm Warning to the Art World: Everything is going to Change!
28 posted on 04/04/2006 8:31:46 PM PDT by kanawa (My dog ate my tagline)
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To: Mr. Silverback
Then: dada

Now: doo doo

29 posted on 04/04/2006 8:47:57 PM PDT by Captainpaintball
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To: goldstategop

Metamorphosis of Narcissus by Salvador Dali (1937)


La muchacha en la ventana by Salvador Dali (1925)
30 posted on 04/04/2006 11:06:51 PM PDT by sully777 (wWBBD: What would Brian Boitano do?)
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To: r9etb

Some nihilistic artists are and were capable of producing fine works of art, including Picasso, Duchamp and Man Ray. Much of their output was puzzling at best, but one is astonished at the rare gems, for example Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase." If Duchamp had never joined any group or uttered any nonsensical opinions, the work would be seen today for what it is: a beautiful expression of man's longing for the sublime. Did Duchamp have an ulterior motive for the piece? Probably. And so we dismiss it as a grand con. The painting is weighed down by its century.


31 posted on 04/04/2006 11:13:36 PM PDT by ashtanga
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To: goldstategop
Metamorphosis and other Dali pieces seemed to have influenced Gerald Scarfe, IMO. Scarfe was used for Pink Floyd's The Wall. Here is some of his work. If you've seen the movie, the artwork is astounding. He also helped Disney bring the story of Hercules to life.



32 posted on 04/05/2006 12:15:11 AM PDT by sully777 (wWBBD: What would Brian Boitano do?)
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To: conservativepoet

You're welcome, of course.


33 posted on 04/05/2006 6:41:41 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: sully777

I don't know why that one qualifies as dada...I mean, it looks like a real painting. :-)


34 posted on 04/05/2006 6:53:47 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: Mr. Silverback

In 1925 an American painter made the most significant statement of his own "ism". Working without the benefit of copying the "masters", this painter made compositions from his ideas about the great American western landscape.

MAYNARD DIXON "CLOUD WORLD"

35 posted on 04/05/2006 7:07:10 AM PDT by Utah Binger (Southern Utah, where the world comes to see America!)
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To: Mr. Silverback
I was there yesterday. We got there just in time to 'experience' an electronic piano concert. What a waste of seven or eight baby grands! They (he?) could have done Rhapsody in Blue but, no. I escaped this cacophony by heading into the exhibit area. I have a $20 landscape painting over the monitor which holds more interest for me than anything I saw in there.

Thankfully, there's also a French Impressionist exhibit which salvaged this foray into the arts.

36 posted on 04/05/2006 8:35:30 AM PDT by pa_dweller (South of the border - a phrase fast losing its meaning)
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To: Liz; Joe 6-pack; woofie; vannrox; giotto; iceskater; Conspiracy Guy; Dolphy; Intolerant in NJ; ...

Art ping!

Let Republicanprofessor, me or woofie know if you want on or off the art ping list.

A thread with a religious theme, but pertinent.


37 posted on 04/05/2006 8:49:09 AM PDT by Sam Cree (Delicacy, precision, force)
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To: Mr. Silverback


Wife (clutching her chest in exhileration): "His struggle is man's struggle."
Husband: "He's a loathsome, offensive, brute...yet I cannot look away." 
38 posted on 04/05/2006 8:55:06 AM PDT by sully777 (wWBBD: What would Brian Boitano do?)
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To: sully777

I'm not a tremendous fan of Dali, though I still admire his work, and even his showmanship. I own a book by him on classical painting technique that is pretty good, even though filled with his own witticisms.

I much like that painting of the girl in the window...although dreamy, it hardly looks surreal. Am I missing something in it?


39 posted on 04/05/2006 8:55:14 AM PDT by Sam Cree (Delicacy, precision, force)
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To: Sam Cree

Am I missing something in it?



Dali couldn't do feet well


40 posted on 04/05/2006 8:57:22 AM PDT by sully777 (wWBBD: What would Brian Boitano do?)
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To: Mr. Silverback

Interesting.


41 posted on 04/05/2006 9:01:03 AM PDT by Dante3
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To: sully777

Is that really so? Feet don't seem like such a problem. However you are right, those feet look way too small.


42 posted on 04/05/2006 9:03:35 AM PDT by Sam Cree (Delicacy, precision, force)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

Yep. The sad thing is that Dada should have fed art by poking a finger into its pretensions. Art got its revenge by killing Dada by taking it seriously. Nobody won.


43 posted on 04/05/2006 9:06:12 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Sam Cree; Republicanprofessor; turbocat; Katya

Sam & Repub

Please add turbocat and Katya to our ArtPing list
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

turbocat and Katya

Here is your private Art Ping


44 posted on 04/05/2006 9:07:33 AM PDT by woofie
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To: woofie

OK, turbocat and Katya are added, thanks.


45 posted on 04/05/2006 9:10:03 AM PDT by Sam Cree (Delicacy, precision, force)
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To: Mr. Silverback

bimp


46 posted on 04/05/2006 9:13:54 AM PDT by Liberty Valance (Gene Pitney is dead and i'm not feelin' so good myself)
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To: Mr. Silverback
Art is ideas sometimes represented by objects or experiences.

Art is not just, and doesn't have to be "realistic" representations of people, nature or events. We have photography for that. Yes, some "realistic" art can be great, but it's not just about photographic representionalism or how tightly someone can paint.

Great skill can produce beautifully rendered, representational illustrations of trivial, empty, and banal art bereft of worthwhile ideas or thought. Just because it's "pretty" doesn't mean it's any good in the long run.

Great art usually transcends itself and becomes difficult to explain easily. Things easily explained are usually banal or mundane. Not to say that simplicity or "common sense" are bad.

Many ideas are abstract and difficult to understand but that doesn't mean that they are not "real".

Music can be abstract. For some people JS Bach or Bartok is too difficult to listen to or "understand" if you really need to "understand" music to be moved or affected by it. If some people don't "get it", does that mean it's all invalid? Does it have to be explained that JS Bach is better than Lawrence Welk, Yanni or John Tesh?

Much of so called "realistic" or "representational" art or painting can also be a bunch of treacly, sentimental rubbish in the same way that some so called modern, avant-garde or "new" art can also be pretentious, condescending rubbish.

The Marcel Duchamp urinal can be art as idea when it was making fun of the idea of art itself.

What's wrong with thinking or being challenged?

You can always buy a Thomas Kincade "painting".

47 posted on 04/05/2006 9:36:51 AM PDT by garyhope (Simplicity is best in everything)
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To: garyhope

Not much art is purely abstract, most of it, even that labeled abstract, is "representational" to some degree or another. Although, so far, no one has been able to convince me that any of the purely abstract art is "great art," though I do recognize some of it as good art, in the way that fabric patterns or package designs are good art.

I believe most "realistic" artists agree with you that more is needed than just virtuosity to create good or great art. Most of the good ones warn of the dangers of concentration on just technique. One often hears it said, for instance, that technique will take care of itself, provided the concept is there. However, IMO, the gaining of real skill takes real time, and chances are good that the shallow among us will not take the time, while those who do take the time will learn to express a worthwhile reality as they gain skill.

The irony in this is that those who lack skill will struggle to express their concept, and thus it is they who are apt to be stuck on technique.

I'm not so sure that great art cannot be explained simply - my experience is that it is the self important crap that no one knows what it is that they're looking at that requires a wordy and academic sounding treatise pinned on the wall next to it.

I agree that music, at least the melody part, is pure abstraction, and thus makes a convincing argument that abstract art can be beautiful.

I personally, while liking much abstract art, am really a lover of the more representational stuff. But it does seem fairly obvious that it is the abstract elements within realistic art that makes some of it great, so I guess I have to admit to being a lover of the abstract. 'Course, that makes the great "realists" great abstract artists. IMO, there's some truth in that idea.


48 posted on 04/05/2006 10:11:14 AM PDT by Sam Cree (Delicacy, precision, force)
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To: Sam Cree

Thanks for a very literate response.

I do love Caravaggio, De la Tour, Michaelangelo, but also de Kooning, Rothko, Twombly and Judd, just to name a few.


49 posted on 04/05/2006 10:15:53 AM PDT by garyhope (Simplicity is best in everything)
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To: sully777

don't confuse Dali with Dada... Dali has talent, and, while dealing with the horrors of war and social dislocation, he never losthim empathy for humanity, or desire to achieve greatness...


50 posted on 04/05/2006 10:20:13 AM PDT by dangus
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